Tuesday, December 2, 2014

No Cara Cara, but I'm Still Thankful.‏

This week I was reminded of what a blessing it is to have a car. Seeing as our car was in the shop for a few days and we were stranded at our flat, we didn't have a chance to get much work done this week. So to all my brother's out there serving without the blessing of driving a car, I feel you!
For a couple days we walked for about an hour and a half to two hours and got to the edge of our area, which is where all the white people live. Our hopes weren't super high because Afrikaans people here aren't the most welcoming to those who have a message to share. It's really strange, seeing as we are in Africa you would tend to think that everyone would be so welcoming, but when you are working with/teaching Afrikaner people you might as well be working somewhere in the Netherlands or somewhere else in Europe. So when they call this the "Rainbow Nation" they aren't kidding.
While tracting in Monte Vista we were able to contact a few people who we could potentially start meeting with. One particular guy was outside his house shirtless in just his boxers watering his plants. He probably was around three hundred pounds or so, so you can guess what a sight that was. Anyway, while walking up to him I whispered to Elder Dryer, "Yoh man, if we can teach and have you baptize this fella here, you can consider your mission a success. Let's get him." He laughed and said, "Alright Elder Thayne, you talk to him then." So I just started up a conversation with him asking about his yard and then stated our purpose for being there. Turns out the gent was quite educated on different religions and the world/politics at large. He knew a lot about us "Mormons" and also about everything happening with the USA at the moment, so we had a lot to talk about. 
After a while he started talking about how frustrating it is to him how every ten seconds there is some new guy who proclaims to be leading the true church or who claims to be God's new spokesman/prophet. I pulled out the pamphlet "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" and started explaining how it teaches where that idea came from. I spoke to him about Apostasy and the issues that came after Christ died. He was pretty surprised when we were whipping out scriptures from the bible left and right. He said he will read it and try to give us a call before he leaves. We asked him where he was headed and he said, "Shame man, I am headed to Saudi Arabia for the next three or four years. I'll for sure give you a call if I can see you before I leave next week." So yeahh, that was a pretty big letdown, but you know what they say, we planted seeds, so that was still somewhat of a win. 
As for people I am teaching, I am sorry I never give more information on the amazing people that we work with.. Elder Dryer and I have made prayer a really big priority in our companionship, and we have a lot of people that we are working with that need help and support with different trials and things that they are going through. So get ready to have a lot longer prayers, because the list is quite long.
 So, first of all...continue to pray for the Dube family, that is brother John, sister Salomi and their daughters Ivanka (a 15 year old who recently came home after being sexually abused by a man she ran away to live with) and Imelda (their 6 year old ADORABLE little daughter) and their son who just got sent back to the eastern cape Ayabulela. The Dube family is a lit fuse to a bomb that we don't always know the size of, but we know that it will always explode. Sometimes they are doing so well and have their hearts on going to the temple and other times they don't. Specifically pray that they will be able to come together as a family again and that anger and hatred will dampen specifically in the parents. They are beginning to fall apart and go very less active again and we have been working so hard to turn them to Heavenly Father that it's devastating to see these things happen. They deserve to be happy, but they can't be happy until they both let go of their pride and work with each other and work to move their family closer to God.
Pray for peace to come into Brother Rodger's heart as he begins to go to court for the mistakes of his past. Brother Rodger is my favourite recent convert who is one of the strongest out here that I know. His conversion story is amazing. He turned his life from drugs, money, and sex and now only focuses on the Lord and helping his friends find and partake of the blessings of the gospel. He has helped give us so many people to teach from his family and former gang member friends. 
Pray that Monica and Malvin (60 something year old mother and 30 something year old son) will get stronger testimonies that what we are saying is important and true. They know what we share is true, but they haven't committed enough to come to church and be baptized. I am praying that after I leave Elder Dryer will be able to baptize them before he leaves panorama in 2 months. 
Please pray that Lorenzo and Maroldine will also begin to have stronger testimonies as we hope to baptize them as well. Lorenzo has been bed ridden for years now after being shot in gang fire, his older sister Maroldine is a very sweet lady who takes care of him. We are planning on baptizing Lorenzo and of course Maroldine to support him. But, Maroldine often doesn't show up to lessons...we have stressed how much we want her there. But, she just doesn't always come. So, please pray that this situation will take an amazing turn around so we can go farther in the lessons with both of them and bring them into the church. 
Pray for Ivan, who is a father figure in the same home as Maroldine and Lorenzo. He is one of Brother Rodger's referrals to us and we get the impression that he's only come to church a few times and listened to us for Rodger and not for himself. Please pray that he will begin to gain a personal testimony. 
Pray for Andrew and Terran James (really the only white people we teach that haven't dropped us quickly into the lessons). They listen to us because they enjoy having gospel discussions and hearing our "unique" perspective. But, they are both strong in their respective faiths. They need to gain a personal witness that our message is true as well. Our Bishop showed up around half past nine when they were in bed and wanted to talk to them and give them a message, which resulted in their obvious annoyance and has driven them away from us a bit.
Pray for all the Tygerberg girls: Mandi, Forgiveness, Hloni (don't worry about how to pronounce that, the lord will understand, the "hl" is kind of an "sh" sound), Thando, Pelisa, and Andile that they will be safe and that the seeds we have planted will continue to grow as they are now at home for holidays and we won't see them till mid-January. Seeing as they are students.
Pray that the Fikizolo's will continue to be amazing converts of the church and that specifically Chulu will continue to grow to be someone her heavenly father is proud of. Chulu is one of the few real Xhosa children that we see and she is awesome. She has been helping Elder Dryer and I learn a bit of Xhosa and is just in general awesome. She is currently making some African bracelets for Elder Dryer's siblings. I may enlist her help as well. :]
Pray for Ivy, a recent convert, that just had a miss carriage with her husband Phelly. Speaking of Phelly, he is a super cool member who does video and photography and is pretty cool and tech savy. 
Also pray for Brother Charles that his testimony will continue to be strengthened and as he comes to church that he will also make friends and feel comfortable with everyone there.
These are the main people that need prayers. Thank you for caring for these people you have never met...I know that I love them so much, so your prayers will be a personal blessing to me as well. 
Well I found out I am going to be with Elder Matini in East London this coming transfer. Matini is from Samoa. So I had a half Italian, a white guy, three black guys, a Tongan, a white guy and now a Samoan, I am covering my bases well. :] I know my news early because I am tight with elder Ah-fua, who is one of our Assistants to President Merrill. So I am moving back to East London, but this time I am going to be serving there, not back in Mdantsane, which is the township just outside East London. I am assuming I'll be around a lot of white people again, but I'll also have my fair share of Xhosa people again, which is SUCH a blessing. I can visit Mdantsane sometime which will be legit. NO LIE! The only downside is the Lord wanted to humble me further by putting me back in a walking area. But I plan on making that downside and upside anyway.
One thing that was great from this week though was that we were surprised by a member in another ward that made Thanksgiving dinner for all the American Elder's. We are so blessed to have awesome and strong members down here willing to celebrate an american holiday with us! Basically we were able to have Thanksgiving after all and that makes me happy. I love eating so much as I know you all are aware! And the best part was, we had PUMPKIN PIE. Yeahh, I know right? It's crazy, but so cool. I never thought I would taste another pumpkin pie until Grandma Thayne had us over for Thanksgiving again, but I was wrong. Thank heavens for that. Speaking of pies I miss Grandma Platt's lemon meringue pie. Ahh and Dad's sausage gravy. And Mum's white chicken chilli. I basically just miss American food, but hey, soon enough I can enjoy that. For now I'll eat my deep fried goat heads, or cow stomach. Ewe bhuti!
I hope Thanksgiving was great for all of you and I pray that we took it as an opportunity for everyone to be more grateful for everything they have been blessed with. It definitely was an eye opener for me. With the loss of our car and well just in general seeing people every day that have less than I do, I realize how blessed I am. Let's have an attitude of gratitude. I remember a wonderful talk that was given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf titled, "Grateful in Any Circumstance." I just want to share one of my favorite sections from that talk.
"My dear brothers and sisters, the choice is ours. We can choose to limit our gratitude, based on the blessings we feel we lack. Or we can choose to be like Nephi, whose grateful heart never faltered. When his brothers tied him up on the ship—which he had built to take them to the promised land—his ankles and wrists were so sore 'they had swollen exceedingly,' and a violent storm threatened to swallow him up in the depths of the sea. 'Nevertheless,' Nephi said, 'I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.'
"We can choose to be like Job, who seemed to have everything but then lost it all. Yet Job responded by saying, 'Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return … : the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'
"We can choose to be like the Mormon pioneers, who maintained a spirit of gratitude during their slow and painful trek toward the Great Salt Lake, even singing and dancing and glorying in the goodness of God. Many of us would have been inclined to withdraw, complain, and agonize about the difficulty of the journey.
"We can choose to be like the Prophet Joseph Smith, who, while a prisoner in miserable conditions in Liberty Jail, penned these inspired words: 'Dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.'
"We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.
"This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer.
"When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.
"We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?
"Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.
"This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind."
"Kufanele ube yile nguquko onqwenela ukuyibona emhlabeni." - You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi. I had that in Xhosa, so I thought I would share it with you guys. I think when President Uchtdorf said we need to be grateful in any circumstance, I don't think he meant we need to be content. We can be grateful for what we do have, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep striving to change things and improve them for the better. I am grateful for my mission and everything that has come from it, but I am not content with it. I want to continue to grow and improve. I am going to be the change that I want to see in this mission, and when I am home, the world.
I love all of you so much. This Church is so true. The gospel is the only way of living that will bring true and lasting happiness. So if you are holding back, stop it. Be grateful for what you have been blessed with. "We should definitely count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count." - Can't remember who said that... but it teaches a true principal. Make the most of what you have been given, and as Christmas comes up soon, make it a point to be someone that God can bless others with.
Ndiyakuthanda kakhulu.
- Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne
I would also be thankful for continued letters and packages.
Elder Mitchell Ryan ThayneSouth Africa Cape Town MissionPO Box 181, ObservatoryCape Town, 7935Republic of South Africa

No comments:

Post a Comment